The lessons for tomorrow may sometimes be found in yesterday's mistakes. This paper analyzes the political and military effectiveness of the Rhode Island militia during the Revolutionary War. Through careful study of the roots of Rhode Island and its militia forces, it is possible to understand the various functions performed by these forces in Rhode Island's struggle for independence. Revisionist historians assert that the war was not so much won by America as it was not lost. The militia played a significant part in sustaining the war until England finally withdrew from the conflict. The functions performed by the militia include providing internal control; a source of short-, term local defense; intelligence gathering; raiding and harassing the enemy forces; and providing a source of manpower for the Continental Army. How well these functions were performed vary, but their effectiveness in prolonging the war were critical to America not losing the conflict. Rhode Island's forces were divided into two major categories-those for the defense of the united colonies and those for the state's defense. The state citizen soldier forces were furthered divided into three minor categories. These were the militia, independently chartered companies, and alarm companies.